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Christmas Day on the streets for Council staff

National Aquarium of New Zealand Manager, Rob Yarrall. While you open your gifts on Christmas morning, or tuck into your ham and new potatoes, there will be a small crew of Napier City Council staff keeping the city ticking over for residents and tourists alike.

Although most Council assets are closed for Christmas Day, including the i-SITE, the National Aquarium of New Zealand and MTG Hawke’s Bay, with employees taking a well-earned rest, there’s no such break for a dedicated team of services staff.

“We have about 15 rostered to work on Christmas Day, cleaning the public toilet facilities, sweeping the streets and emptying our 180 litter bins,” says Napier City Council Director City Services Lance Titter. There are also staff on standby across the water, sewerage and cemetery areas.

At the Aquarium, there are two staff rostered on each Christmas Day to come in and feed the animals.

“There are certain animals such as the kiwi that require feeding daily – and hand-feeding at that,” says Aquarium Manager Rob Yarrall.

“The penguins are individually fed – although with the sharks you just throw the food in and they help themselves!”

Mr Yarrall says it’s testament to “the type of people they are” that there is never a problem finding Aquarium staff to come in on public holidays.

“They are quite happy to do it, and share the load between them so everyone has a turn.” There is no special Christmas menu for the aquatic animals – “just the standard food and vitamins.”

But it is a different story for the dogs!  Those spending the holidays at the Napier City Council Animal Shelter receive a Christmassy treat with dog lover, Mr Titter, heading over with a special meaty breakfast.

“I’ll be coming in to take the dogs for a run in the morning, and I’ve bought them some pig’s ears as a gift,” he says. “It’s nice to make their day a little bit special.”

And the good tidings don’t stop there. Napier City Councillor Maxine Boag will be helping to prepare and serve the free community Christmas Day lunch at Pukemokimoki Marae, which is sponsored by Inner City churches, All Saints, Napier City Council and the Pukemokimoki Maraenui Trust.

“Christmas is all about family and community and as I don't have close family here, this is an opportunity to help out  - as well as enjoy the company of others,” Clr Boag says. She adds that her partner Pete will be there to assist – and that they’re both dab hands at doing the dishes.

Click here for full details of Napier City Council holiday hours.

12 May 2017

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